Musk Farm Garden

As part of the ongoing series of posts about beautiful gardens, I thought I'd show you one of my favourite Australian gardens, Musk Farm, an enchantingly sweet country garden near the village of Daylesford, in western Victoria.

I first came across this garden when I interviewed the owner, the renowned Australian interior designer Stuart Rattle, for the Sydney Morning Herald and Age newspaper's Sunday magazine. It was for story on city professionals who had moved to the countryside. He told me that when he first set eyes on the old dilapidated school house that would later become his home (above), it gave him something of an architectural shock. "I was expecting Howard's End," he confessed with a laugh, "but this looked like the World's End". But then he returned at twilight and in that shimmering golden light, the old house made his heart skip a beat. "I no longer saw the reality," he said, "but the fantasy."

Having fallen head-over-welingtons with the idea of country weekends with roaring fires and lots of whisky, he set to work on restoring the building and overhauling the grounds. It took a herculean effort, but according to Stuart it was worth every breath. Others thought so, too. In fact, when he was finished, the place looked so stunning that many design writers were astonished. The BBC included the property in a documentary about outstanding international gardens. Other publications, such as Vogue Living and Country Style, rushed to feature it in their magazines. And when Stuart opened the property to the public on a special spring Open Day, the place was inundated with visitors.

The house, which was inspired by New England architecture, has now been transformed from a run-down school house to a dignified gentleman's retreat, while the surrounding 35.6-hectare estate has been rejuvenated and turned into a productive farm. It even features a herd of rare British whites, a breed beloved of Winston Churchill. Not that Rattle's transition from city to country has been completely smooth. "I'm still waiting for tractors to come out in automatic," he told me, with a wry smile.

Here's a look at his magnificent house and garden at Musk Farm.

{Last two images via Vogue Living and Country Style. I'm not certain of the photographer so if these images are yours please let me know and I'll credit them. The remaining images are my own.}

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